6. Brexit and international family law
Whatever your views the impact of Brexit has been at the forefront of everyone’s mind since the result of the referendum in June 2016 when 52% of the voting public cast their ballot for the UK to leave the European Union. In this popular article, David Hodson OBE set out his early views on how this decision may impact international family law including the areas of divorce, children issues and marital agreements. Consideration is given to elements we may want to retain and those which will be subject to change.7. 15th View from the President’s Chambers: care cases: the looming crisis
The President of the Family Division Sir James Munby produced his 15th View in September 2016 and the focus of this edition was the approaching crisis in care cases. The President began by reiterating the rising Cafcass figures and outlining his concerns about how the profession will cope with the predicted future increases. He went on to consider the types of research and analysis required to help understand where resources should go and ways in which the family court can become a problem-solving court.8. Family Justice Council publishes Guidance on 'Financial Needs' on Divorce
The Family Justice Council released its guidance on ‘Financial Needs’ on Divorce in July 2016 following the Law Commission consultation regarding Matrimonial Property, Needs and Agreements. The guidance was aimed at courts and legal advisers to clarify the meaning of ‘financial needs’ on divorce and provide a clear statement of the objective that such financial orders should try to achieve, and to encourage consistency of the approach taken by courts across England and Wales. It was hoped the guidance would go some way to addressing the Law Commission’s concerns about regional differences and the lack of transparency in this area of the law.9. Inheritance dispute goes to the Supreme Court: Ilott v Mitson
This Inheritance Act case will be heard in the Supreme Court on 12 December 2016 after three animal charities were granted permission following the Court of Appeal decision. The deceased had left nearly all her estate to the charities but the Court of Appeal found she had acted in an unreasonable, capricious and harsh way and her estranged daughter was awarded monies to buy and house and cover other expenses.10. Plain English judgment gets the thumbs up and a :-)
Who doesn’t love the odd emoji now and again? A whole host of us were inspired by this public law judgment which came from Mr Justice Peter Jackson and tackled the making of a care order in the most simple of formats. The judgment was warmly received for its 'plain' English’ and the clear way in which it tackled threshold issues and a complicated family history without legal jargon. The judgment was written to allow the children and family members to better understand the court’s reasoning and decision making.
In addition, we have to give a special mention to the Family Law Awards 2016 which was a night of epic proportions celebrating all the excellent work, commitment and achievements demonstrated by the family law community. A perfect warm up to the festive season, over five hundred guests gathered at the Bloomsbury Big Top in London to enjoy the entertainment and congratulate the nominees and winners. A truly magical night was had by all. See all the photos of the night here.
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Family lawyers gather in Parliament to call for No Fault Divorce
150 family lawyers paid a visit to Parliament in November 2016 to meet with MPs and Peers and discuss the issue of ‘No Fault Divorce’. One of the hottest topics of the year, there have been resounding calls across the profession for the introduction of divorce without blame. With the emphasis in family law of non-confrontational resolution to disputes, the no fault divorce seems like a logical next step which many would say should have been introduced long ago.
Divorce fee increase
Without much warning, the family law community were dismayed to learn that the Ministry of justice planned to hike the fee for divorce from £410 to £550. There was understandable dissatisfaction at the fee increase and the somewhat stealthy manner in which it was imposed.
PSL Essential Update – October 2016
A whole host of these to choose from but October was a popular month with amends to the Family Procedure Rules 2010, a landmark victory for a civil partner, post-Brexit commentary and news on transparency.
From all of us at Family Law, we send best wishes and hope you enjoy the festive season (and a well-earned break). See you in 2017!